ACL Live Shot: Kings of Leon

They’re what a rock & roll act is supposed to be, right?

Objects may appear MUCH smaller live: Kings of Leon
Objects may appear MUCH smaller live: Kings of Leon (by Gary Miller)

Despite their enormous popularity, there’s nothing captivating about Kings of Leon. The band’s capable of some nice recorded moments, but the Nashville foursome falls flat live.

When KoL began, they were marketed as a Southern Strokes of sorts, and much like that NYC trust fund “garage punk” band, the Followill clan does certain things certain ways because, “Well, isn’t that what a rock band is supposed to do?”

Live, that means you hear songs that sound like Caleb Followill heard a U2 album and thought, “Oh, I should write something like that.” Or heard a Radiohead disc, or a Pink Floyd LP, or some Rolling Stones vinyl, and said, “Hey, maybe I should do something like that?” What you see on the giant video screens looks very small indeed: three brothers and a cousin trying to get through the songs, not really trying to entertain or engage the audience. That’s what the light show is for anyway, right?

Maybe I just don’t get it. Perhaps I’m not their demographic. I certainly saw a lot of shapely young females shaking it to the Kings’ admittedly stadium-sized rhythms, and drunk young frat boys pumping fists. All I could think was, “No, you had to have seen the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion last night to do that!”

Kings Of Leon are more like Beatlemania: Not rock & roll, but an incredible simulation.

For more ACL Fest coverage, see For photo galleries from the fest, see

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More ACL Fest 2013
The Rain Can't Stop the Music
The Rain Can't Stop the Music
UPDATE: ACL acts including Mowglis make alternate plans

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 13, 2013

ACL Live Shot (Second Weekend): The Cure
ACL Live Shot (Second Weekend): The Cure
Robert Smith summons the rain

Doug Freeman, Oct. 13, 2013

More Kings of Leon
ACL Music Fest 2013 Saturday Reviews
Kings of Leon
Mechanical Bull (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Oct. 4, 2013

Phases & Stages
Kings of Leon
Only by the Night (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Oct. 24, 2008

More by Tim Stegall
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
The Linda Lindas, Momma, Caramelo Haze, JaRon Marshall, and more highlight our recommended shows for the week

Jan. 13, 2023

Raul's in Overdrive:
Raul's in Overdrive: "AUSTIN IS UN-MELLOWING OUT!"
Patti Smith and Elvis Costello visit Raul's, after the Bodysnatchers beat the Skunks to vinyl, in Chapter 6, Part 2 of the "Austin Punk Chronicles"

Dec. 30, 2022


Kings of Leon, ACL Fest 2013, Caleb Followill, Strokes, U2, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Radiohead, Beatles

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle